Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Information for my readers

Information for my readers

On June 4th, Stephen Lendman wrote:

I'm dealing with some health issues. They caught up to me. I'll be hospitalized perhaps through the weekend.

Beginning Wednesday, June 4. Hopefully will restore me to full health and vigor.

I know supportive readers follow my daily articles. I'm very grateful. You're the tonic that keeps me going. I hate being away for even a short time.

Sometimes there's no choice. This is one of those times.

I'll dread hospital boredom; being unable to do what I love best. You'll know when I'm back. You'll see new articles posted. I can't wait to write them.

I hope soon as possible. Your support keeps me going. I value it so much. You're all cherished friends and allies. You're the best.

---

Stephen Lendman has been hospitalized since June 4th and hence is unable to continue updating his blog on his own --up until this date (July 16th, 2014).

His work is widely distributed online, with his articles carried on numerous listeners and websites such as Information Clearing House, Countercurrents, Rense, AltNews, Uruknet, Global Research, Counterpunch, and more. In early 2007, he began regular radio hosting, now The Progressive Radio News Hour on
The Progressive Radio Network. He is co-author with J.J. Asongu of The Iraq Quagmire: The Price of Imperial Arrogance. He recently also collaborated and edited the book Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive For Hegemony Risks World War III

"Stephen Lendman has been tireless in exposing the hidden forces behind the news, on everything from political economy and human rights to social justice and workers’ rights. His writings draw from a wealth of knowledge and deep conviction. I’m delighted to see him tackle the problem of private banking and government collusion and what I believe is the key to the solution—public banking." 
ELLEN BROWN

"Steve Lendman is one of America’s leading critics,whether it involves exposing collusion between Wall Street and Washington, the Obama regime’s support of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, or the frame-up of Muslim citizens by the attorney general. Fearless,thoroughly documented and judicious in his judgement, Lendman’s essays are a major contribution to the struggle for social justice in America." 
JAMES PETRAS

"I think this text is terrific, just what is needed, very clear, informative beyond most people’s ken, easy to read, and of ultimate importance to steering economic and political recovery. The Capitalism and Freedom chapter is right in biopsy. The book just keeps on going with brilliant full exposure."
JOHN McMURTRY

"A comprehensive understanding of Wall Street's manipulations of markets, money and power to the detriment of working people everywhere is badly needed. Stephen Lendman's new book "How Wall Street Fleeces America, is the answer."
PETER PHILLIPS

"Stephen Lendman has written a brilliant, passionate, and humane analysis of the current economic disarray in which we now live. Picking up where Thorstein Veblen left off, Lendman links our catastrophic economic situation to the robber-baron mentality in corporations and the failure of government to act as the enforcer of morality. His analysis is full of concrete illustrations of this latter-day barbarism, and is accessible to the everyday person, as well as intellectuals. This book should be required reading in business schools as well as Congress."
STJEPAN G. MESTROVIC

"Stephen Lendman’s latest work covers a great many interconnected subjects that affect not only the United States but everyone in the world. The aspect of investment in America today is shown to be nothing less then the robbing of the American people by a criminal syndicate, known as Wall Street, banking and the Federal Reserve. A good deal of this is based upon the Federal Reserve Act and the ability of major private banks to control American society. The players have turned the financial world into one vast casino and when the players lose large amounts of money the public is allowed to bail them out. This book digs deeply into many of the contributing parts of what is wrong with the financial system of America and the world today. Stephen Lendman has a great gift for writing and research and all his readers are the beneficiaries.."
BOB CHAPMAN

"Stephen Lendman has a breadth and depth of understanding of world and national affairs virtually unmatched among other public intellectuals today. With this exceptional collection of reflections upon our financial and budgetary crises, he clarifies and illuminates the dark and obscure recesses of policies and programs that, although ostensibly intended to promote the interests of the people, all too often have the opposite effect, enriching and strengthening the wealthy at the taxpayer's expense. Let us hope this book will be followed by many more!"
JAMES H. FETZER

""Stephen Lendman is a true citizen journalist and scholar. After a long and successful business career, Lendman took it upon himself to use his retirement as a springboard for a new career as an analyst of political economy. With great acumen, Lendman calls out economic charlatans and cuts straight through the core of so-called bull markets to tell the truth about how the powerful fleece the public on a daily basis. Lendman not only traces the history of the current financial calamity, he offers common sense advice on what we can do about it. A solid, fact-based read for anyone trying to make heads or tails of what's happening in today's economy."
MICKEY HUFF

"There are many descriptive, narrative accounts about Wall St. and the current economic crisis available to readers today. But Stephen Lendman's new book takes the analysis far deeper than a simple narrative. Lendman emphasizes and focuses on the connections between Wall St. actions and the political system in Washington. How money operates on both sides of the street -- the banking and the political--is described in detail. The reader is left with a broader, deeper understanding of why the recent crisis happened and where it may well be headed. Most importantly, the author does not shirk from calling the outcomes of the Wall St.-Washington alliance for what it represents: the emergence of a new kind of class war in America. Readers will find of special interest his innovative views on banking and public banking. Lendman's book is definitely one not to be missed."
JACK RASMUS

This post has been updated by the Stephen Lendman support team on: 
July 16th, 2014 at 10:00 am -Central  Time

Syrians Vote

Syrians Vote

by Stephen Lendman

June 3 was historic. It was Syria's first ever free, fair, open democratic presidential election.

Hassan al-Nouri and Maher Hajjar competed with Assad. He's overwhelmingly popular. 

He'll win easily. Only his victory margin remains to be determined.

Syrians want no one else leading them. Especially while conflict continues. He's fighting for Syrian freedom. He's defeating Obama's dirty game.

On Tuesday, 9,601 polling stations opened at 7:00AM. Heavy turnout kept them open until midnight. To accommodate everyone wanting to vote. 

Syrians in hot zones voted in safe areas. The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported "massive" turnout.

A Syrian Presidential Facebook posting said:

"Syrians, who are always up to the expectations, prove day after day their commitment to the culture of life, hope and challenge in the face of the culture of death, terrorism and closeness."

They're committed to preserving Syrian sovereignty, it added. Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem issued a statement, saying:

"No one grants legitimacy except the Syrian people. The Syrians register today their free will in democratic, transparent elections to elect who will lead them" for the next seven years.

They alone are enfranchised. "No one can impose (their) will on the Syrian people."

Assad and his wife Asma voted at a school near his Damascus presidential residence. Hajjar cast his ballot in Salhiya Quarter's parliament palace.

Al-Nuri voted at a Sheraton Hotel polling station. He commented, saying:

"Syria is becoming a different country where pluralism is taking root and a different opinion gets acceptable."

Results won't be announced until all ballots are counted. According to Supreme Judicial Committee for Elections head Hisham al-Shaar:

No exit polls were taken. "Preliminary and final results will be announced simultaneously. No tentative results will be made public."

Thirty Syrian friendly countries sent monitors. Russian upper house Federation Council Committee on Constitutional Legislation First Deputy Chairman Alexei Alexandrov said:

"We have no doubts about the legitimacy of these polls."

"Syria does everything to get aligned with the world's democratic law-governed states." 

"There are no doubts that (Assad) was confronted by serious politicians who had every ground to expect a realistic win." 

"It is obvious that (he) enjoys special prestige, and the people's love for him is felt." 

"From legal and objective points of view, the elections (were) held impeccably." 

"The existing minor reproaches will not influence the final results."

Electoral commission member Ridvan Asan said:

"Turnout of voters has been high. Polling has been held in an open and honest manner."

Itar Tass correspondents visited 15 Damascus polling stations. 

They witnessed unimpeded voting. The process was open, free and fair, they said.

Armed militants' attempts to disrupt things failed. Millions of Syrians wanting to live free foiled them.

One voter perhaps spoke for others, saying:

"Three years of struggle against Saudis and Qatar have not subdued us. They did not even dream of democracy of ours."

Another said "(t)hree years of war have not broken us. We're voting for the future."

A Damascus resident called voting "our duty. We can't allow people from outside to decide for us," he said.

"Our duty is to vote to protect our country." According to another Damascus resident:

"Even if there are mortar bombs like the terrorists promise us, we'll go and vote for Bashar Assad. This is our right."

Al-Watan Waddah editor-in-chief Abed Rabbo said no one but Assad can restore peace and stability. 

"People…will vote for the person who will bring them" what they most value. And best "prospects for the future."

Syrians know Assad. They respect him. They'll elect him overwhelmingly. By a 70% majority or higher.

Syrian expats voted on May 28. Tens of thousands of Lebanese refugees turned out.

Up to an estimated 100,000. Beirut's Syrian embassy extended voting hours to accommodate them.

Washington pressure got France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Austria, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE and other countries to prevent Syrian expats from voting.

They endorsed sham Ukrainian and Egyptian elections. They denounced Syria's model democratic process.

It didn't deter millions of Syrians from exercising their democratic franchise. Or millions more abroad.

Western reporters in Lebanon and elsewhere were amazed. Long lines queued for hours. In countries far off as Brazil. 

Overwhelmingly supporting Assad. Expressing it publicly. They want him alone representing them.

AP said he has "significant support among large sections of the population, particularly among Christians, Alawites and other religious minorities."

In Lebanon, "(t)ens of thousands of Assad supporters flocked to cast ballots at the hilltop embassy in Yarze, a town Southeast of" Beirut.

"The ensuing chaos snarled traffic, trapping schoolchildren in buses for hours and forcing some schools to cancel scheduled exams."

Voters began arriving pre-dawn. Some on backs of pickup trucks. Others in cars and buses.

Traffic was heavy. Some people abandoned cars. They walked several kilometers to polling stations.

They queued for hours in Iraq, Iran and some European countries. Qatar supports Obama's war on Syria.

It owns and operates Al Jazeera. It reported what couldn't be denied.

May 28 "was not an ordinary voting day," it said. "It was a parade of Syrians celebrating their embattled president, Bashar al-Assad, and expressing support for him."

"Since early morning, tens of thousands of Syrians flocked to the heavily fortified area surrounding the Syrian embassy in Lebanon as expatriate voting began ahead of the June 3 presidential election."

"(T)his was the most visible mass gathering the country has witnessed in the past few years and possibly, the largest-ever gathering of Syrians outside their country."

People came from everywhere. "Photos of Assad were plastered on cars and minibuses, national flags and t-shirts." 

"Chanting for Assad broke out periodically on the highway, in front of the embassy and even in the polling room." 

Voters said "God, Syria, Bashar only."

Reuters said  "refugees waved flags and held pictures of Bashar al-Assad as they crushed into Damascus's embassy in Lebanon…to join Syrians worldwide voting early in an election that looks certain to give him a third seven-year term as president."

"Several countries that oppose Assad, including France, have blocked the voting but Syrian government media said people were still able to participate in many countries."

"In Lebanon, which holds a million Syrians - most of them refugees - citizens were driven to the Syrian embassy in Beirut." 

"Their buses blocked one of Beirut's three main highways and men and women waved Syria's flag and held up pictures of Assad."

On June 3, Reuters said Syrians are "expected to deliver an overwhelming victory for President Bashar al-Assad."

"State television showed long queues of people waiting to vote at polling stations…as well as crowds waving flags and portraits of the president."

"(N)either of Assad's rivals…enjoys much support."

Washington reacted as expected. Assistant State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf repeated one Big Lie after another. 

She called Syria's model democratic process "a disgrace." She ludicrously said Assad "has no more credibility today than he did yesterday." 

"Elections should be an opportunity for the people of a free society to be consulted and to play an important role in choosing their leaders," she said.

"Instead, such a process was inconceivable today in Syria, where the regime continued to reject the courageous calls for freedom and dignity that started more than three years ago." 

"It intentionally denied millions of Syrians the right to vote and continued to massacre the very electorate it purports to represent and protect."

It bears repeating. Syria's election was open, free and fair. It mocked America's sham process.

As quoted above, Russian monitor Alexei Alexandrov said:

"We have no doubts about the legitimacy of these polls."

"Syria does everything to get aligned with the world's democratic law-governed states." 

"It is obvious that Assad enjoys special prestige, and the people's love for him is felt." 

"From legal and objective points of view, the elections (were) held impeccably." 

Final results will be announced once all ballots are counted.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour 

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

American Exceptionalism Justifies War on Humanity

American Exceptionalism Justifies War on Humanity

by Stephen Lendman

It OKs mass murder. It permits flouting rule of law principles, norms and standards. 

America is a terror state. Criminality continues on an unprecedented scale.

Permanent war is official US policy. One country after another is ravaged and destroyed. Millions of corpses attest to America's barbarity.

No nation in world history matches it. Obama exceeds the worst of his predecessors. He's a war criminal multiple times over.

Advancing America's imperium matters most. US hegemonic ambitions risk global war. 

So does its rage for full spectrum dominance over all land, surface and sub-surface sea, air, space, electromagnetic spectrum and information systems with enough overwhelming power to fight and win global wars against any adversary. 

International laws, treaties, conventions, standards and norms don't matter. Washington rules alone apply. Might v. right reflects them.

Obama's proxy war on Syria rages without end. Events in Ukraine reflect US-led NATO's drive East. 

Co-opting it into the Atlantic Alliance ensures encroaching on Russia's entire Western flank.

US military strength on its borders cuts it off from Europe. Marginalizing, isolating and weakening it at the same time.

Washington's inexorable drive East threatens world peace. It hangs by a thread. Ukraine is a global flashpoint. It's the gravest geopolitical crisis since WW II.

War without mercy continues. Obama offers full support. His insatiable hegemonic appetite is limitless.

His West Point address showed it. He glorified war in the name of peace. "America has rarely been stronger relative to the rest of the world," he said.

"(T)he United United States is and remains the one indispensable nation."

"…America's willingness to apply force around the world is the ultimate safeguard against chaos."

"Here's my bottom line: America must always lead on the world stage."  

"If we don't, no one else will…(H)istory and hope (are) on our side." America's agenda is "right and just."

In other words, waging war on humanity is OK. US interests alone matter. It's "our way of life," according to Obama.

Not for ordinary Americans. Monied interests alone benefit. Plundering world resources serves them. So does exploiting global populations.

Wars without mercy are America's option of choice. Ukraine is in the eye of the storm. 

On June 2, Russia's UN envoy Vitaly Churkin addressed a closed door Security Council session. He discussed Moscow's draft resolution.

He told reporters it's "not politicized and is of a purely humanitarian nature." It's to "alleviat(e) human suffering."

"Every day civilians get killed, among them women and children. Ukrainian military and paramilitary forces impede the peaceful population, leaving besieged cities or sending their children to safe places." 

"Buses of children are turned back.” Ukraine's war without mercy includes "heavy and indiscriminate shelling of residential areas."

Russia demands “an immediate cessation of hostilities, urges parties to commit themselves to sustainable ceasefire, and calls for the establishment by the parties of humanitarian corridors in order to allow the civilian population to leave safely and to ensure humanitarian assistance.”

Moscow's draft was submitted because “we believe for the situation in Ukraine not to deteriorate further, something needs to be done now in order to stop the violence.”

Churkin criticized what he called Security Council "usual suspects." They're "showing no urgency" in resolving things diplomatically.

"How come we talk all the time, as you know, theoretically about the need of preventing diplomacy, about the need to stop conflict, and then some colleagues sit in the Council and sort of shake their heads and say, 'Well, maybe they are doing the right thing, this military thing, they have the right to do that.' "

"Looking for various legal frames for this kind of an attitude is wrong." 

"It is our duty to stop the conflict as quickly as possible, to try to stop violence as quickly as possible."

Washington called Moscow's draft resolution "hypocritical." It blames Russia for its own crimes. 

On Monday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki lied, saying:

"It is hypocritical of the Russian leadership to call for an end to violence and the creation of humanitarian corridors when, at the same time, armed irregular forces are entering Ukraine from Russia, weapons are being brought illegally from Russia into Ukraine, Russian-backed separatists are attacking new targets and holding OSCE monitoring teams hostage, and Russia is doing nothing to stop these activities." 

"So if they are going to call for or would support a reduction in tensions and a de-escalation, it would be more effective for them to end those activities."

On Monday, Sergey Lavrov said Western nations assured Russia things would improve after Ukraine's May 25 election.

Instead, "everything is happening in exactly the opposite way. People are dying every day," Lavrov stressed.

"Peaceful civilians are suffering more and more. The army, military aviation and heavy weapons continue to be used against them."

Russia forthrightly opposes "any attempts to politicize the humanitarian crisis and to use it to justify external forceful interference…"

On Tuesday, Russia's Children's Rights Commissioner Pavel Astakhov said:

"As many as 90,700 thousand orphans are staying in Ukraine, around one thousand of them are in the zone of hostilities." 

"Russian children's institutions are prepared to receive and accommodate all Ukrainian orphans."

"The more Ukraine uses heavy weapons, the larger the number of refugees who ask for help to pass to Russia as the problem is that no humanitarian corridors had not been created yet."

Washington, Britain, France and Kiev putschists block them. They prioritize conflict. 

They deplore resolving things peacefully. They're mindless of civilian deaths and suffering. They wage war without mercy.

Moscow accused US-led NATO of encouraging Kiev aggression. According to its NATO envoy Aleksandr Grushko:

"NATO is providing Kiev - a member of its Partnership for Peace program - with technical assistance, thus encouraging the prolongation of its use of force." 

"Thus the Alliance accepts a part of the responsibility for the escalation of the situation, and the collapse of diplomatic negotiations."

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen blamed Moscow irresponsibly saying:

"The climate at the moment is not good - not because NATO wants it that way, but because of Russia's illegal aggression against Ukraine."

US-led NATO bears full responsibility. "We have noticed unprecedented NATO activity near Russia's borders," said Grushko.

"It is excessive, inappropriate, and weakens stability, security and predictability in the Euro-Atlantic region."

War rages near Russia's border. It's "necessary to employ all possibilities to put an end to violence and take the situation onto a peaceful road of negotiations." 

"We urged the Council members to demand from the Kiev authorities to immediately stop the punitive operation in the southeast of the country, to begin the implementation of the Geneva accord of April 17 and the 'road map' of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe."

"We also expect the Alliance to at last denounce the criminal wrongdoing of radical nationalists, committed in different Ukrainian cities."

US-led NATO hypocritically supports "political dialogue based on democratic values, respect for human rights, the rights of minorities as well as supremacy of law."

It's actions are polar opposite. They're "fraught with a growing tension in the Euro-Atlantic region."

They disrupt "the existing system of security in the region." They facilitate war without mercy. 

They risk potential East/West confrontation. Russia continues going all-out for diplomatic conflict resolution.

It champions peace. It deplores war. It's mindful not to let Washington draw it into conflict with NATO over Ukraine.

It's horrified over war without mercy. Death toll numbers mount. 

Imagine using helicopter gunships, warplanes, tanks, artillery and other heavy weapons against civilian populations.

On Tuesday, a Slavyansk self-defense spokesman said:

"Several minutes ago two (Sukhoi) Su-25 airplanes conducted strikes…After them, five helicopters…launch(ed) massive airstrikes…" 

"There have been casualties and injuries both among militiamen and the civilian population."

Southeast Front self-defense spokesman Kostantin Knirik said:

"Two airstrikes have been launched against Semyonovka. One of them hit a roadblock, and the second one hit immediately the village." 

"At least one civilian resident has been killed and scores have been injured."

"Two buses full of children tried to leave the city, but they were stopped by Ukrainian security forces." 

"Furthermore, (passengers) were told explicitly: turn back or we will start to bombard you."

Donetsk self-defense forces reported large-scale Ukraine aggression.

"Convoys of armored vehicles are moving toward Slavyansk." 

"Their numbers exceed the number of vehicles already deployed around the city by several times. Apparently, they are preparing to run tanks over us."

A Kramatorsk self-defense spokesman reported "a serious gun battle underway. Three local residents (were) killed" so far.

Slavyansk People's Mayor Vyacheslav Ponomaryov said:

"As a result of (Tuesday's) strikes (on) Slavyansk, one civilian resident has died. The strikes targeted mainly the village of Semenyovka and the city center."

Lugansk's press service chief Vladimir Inogoodsky called Monday's attack "a military crime."

"I was an immediate eyewitness of it, and I saw the warplanes make approaches and open fire," he said.

"Ukrainian mass media are spreading (false) assertions now that we blew ourselves up on our own."

"They not only pour out slander on us and deceive the international community but they also kill us."

Russia's Human Rights Commissioner Ella Pamfilova briefed Putin on refugee problems.

"(T)he inflow from (Ukraine's East) has begun to grow," she said. "(W)e need an urgent systematic program as to how these people should be received, provided with jobs, and so on."

Putin responded saying:

"I will instruct the presidential secretariat to help implement all of your proposals along with the government."

Humanitarian crisis conditions worsen daily. Obama bears full responsibility. Megalomania defines his agenda. So do delusions of grandeur.

He's heading America for full-blown tyranny and ruin. His war on humanity threatens world peace.

Poet Hayyim Bialik (1873 - 1934) once wrote about "with heart's blood and marrow pay(ing) the price of the blaze." 

A century later he'd have had weapons of mass destruction in mind. He'd have wondered how madness became policy. 

Why waging wars instead of preventing them is prioritized. Washington is humanity's greatest threat. 

Its hubris and imperial arrogance are unprecedented. It stops at nothing for unchallenged dominance. 

Its war on humanity persists. It made planet earth unfit to live on.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour 

Obama in Europe

Obama in Europe

by Stephen Lendman

Wherever he goes, trouble follows. He's the latest in a long line of rogue US leaders. 

Contempt for rule of law principles, duplicity and moral cowardice define them. Pretense otherwise doesn't wash. 

Obama exceeds the worst of his predecessors. He's guilty of high crimes too grave to ignore. 

Millions worldwide call America a pariah one. They do so for good reason. Its imperial agenda targets fundamental freedoms for elimination. 

Obama went all-out to destroy them on his watch. He did so at home and abroad. He made planet earth unsafe to live on.

More than any of his predecessors. He waged political, economic and hot wars on humanity. They rage out-of-control.

He left Monday. He spent two days in Poland. 

Ostensibly for Polish Freedom Day. Marking its liberation from Soviet Russia's control.

He met with Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski and Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

Then with Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Estonian, Hungarian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Romanian and Slovakian officials.

He met one-on-one with Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko. He pledged full US support. Political, economic and military.

To harden fascist governance. To crush Eastern Ukrainian freedom fighters. To head Ukraine for NATO membership. 

To establish US bases on Russia's borders. To encroach on its entire Western flank. To target its heartland. 

To weaken and isolate a major rival. To replace it with pro-Western vassal govenance if all goes as planned.

On June 4 and 5, he was at NATO headquarters in Brussels. He met with other G-7 leaders. It's no longer G-8. Russia is excluded.

Obama came to pressure European allies for stiffer sanctions. He'll get little more than already imposed. 

Germany, France, Britain and other EU nations value strong political and economic ties. 

They won't sacrifice what's too important to preserve. They'll maintain confrontation with Russia over Ukraine.

On June 6, Obama headed for France to commemorate D-Day's 70th anniversary. His agenda prioritizes bashing Russia. 

It's enlisting greater support for Kiev putschists. A Fact Sheet on his trip headlined "European Reassurance Initiative and Other US Efforts in Support of NATO Allies and Partners," saying:

Washington "act(ed), both bilaterally and through NATO, to reassure allies of our solemn commitment to their security and territorial integrity as members of the NATO Alliance."

It calls a "persistent US (regional) presence…especially in Central and Eastern Europe…" vital to support allies "robustly."

It lied about "Russia's occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea and other provocative actions in Ukraine."

Washington "stands by its allies…We will continue to take actions that increase the capability, readiness, and responsiveness of NATO forces to address any threat and that aid in deterring further destabilizing activities."  

"That is why the President today called on Congress to support a European Reassurance Initiative of up to $1 billion." It's for bolstering America's presence. It targets Russia.

National Security Advisor Susan Rice explained. "The United States, working with our European partners, has rallied to isolate and pressure Russia for its activities in Ukraine," she said.

"That's the kind of leadership that only the world's greatest power can bring to bear."

Obama plans greater commitment to NATO allies. With "support of Congress, the United States will preposition more equipment (and US forces) in (Eastern) Europe," he said.

"Given the situation in Ukraine right now, we have also increased our American presence." 

"We've begun rotating additional ground troops and F-16 aircraft into Poland…to help our forces support NATO air missions."

He called NATO "the cornerstone of our own security." It's a dagger at humanity's heart. 

It's an imperial tool. It's a global killing machine. It prioritizes war. It deplores peace. It threatens humanity's survival.

Ahead of scheduled meetings, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen explained the Alliance's position. 

He's a convenient US stooge. He turned truth on its head doing so. He substituted Big Lies for NATO's real agenda.

"All (Alliance) allies made clear that we condemn the illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea and Allies will not recognize it," he said.

"We commend the people of Ukraine for holding free and fair elections largely in line with international standards." 

"They clearly voted for a united Ukraine. Their choice must be respected and we urge Russia to engage constructively with the newly elected President."

"We call on Russia to withdraw its troops fully and verifiably from Ukraine's border, with additional international inspections." 

"To stop the flow of arms and fighters into Ukraine. To condemn armed separatists…"

To challenge "Russia's illegal aggression against Ukraine."

Rasmussen praised Ukraine's sham election. 

"Despite criminal violence, intimidation and provocation by pro-Russian armed gangs, the Ukrainian people have made their voice heard," he said. 

And (it) must be respected. So we look forward to working with the new president of Ukraine."

"We stand firm in our support for Ukraine's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity." 

We do not and will not recognize Russia's armed annexation of Crimea." 

"And we strongly support Ukraine's right to choose its own path for the future."

"We have made unprecedented pledges imposing restraint on our military posture, and we have kept them."

"…Russia has not kept its pledges. (It) threatened its neighbours, and used force against them."  

"It has not respected the territorial integrity or political independence of other countries."

All NATO measures "are defensive, moderate, proportionate, transparent, and fully compliant with our international commitments, including the Founding Act." 

"They are not a threat to Russia. It "must show (it's) prepared to play by the same rules as everybody else."

It bears repeating. NATO is an imperial tool. It's a global killing machine. It targets humanity. It ravages one country after another. It threatens world peace.

Russia is polar opposite. It deplores war and instability. It goes all-out for peaceful conflict resolution.

It affirms UN Charter and other rule of law principles. It believes nation-state sovereignty is inviolable.

It challenges US hegemonic ambitions. It does so responsibly. It's proud and re-assertive. It's not about to roll over for Washington. 

It's on the right side of history. Its agenda is the best hope for world peace. It's more than ever needed now. Humanity's fate hangs in the balance.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour 

Palestinian Unity Governance

Palestinian Unity Governance

by Stephen Lendman

It's official. Its called "national reconciliation government." On Monday, Palestinian ministers were ceremonially sworn in. 

At Ramallah presidential headquarters. Presided over by Abbas and Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah. A last minute disagreement was resolved. More on this below.

Others issues remain. Whether enough to disrupt unity going forward the fullness of time will tell.

Seventeen ministers took oaths of office. Five are from Gaza. Israel denied three Hamas ones West Bank entry. They were sworn in by live video feed.

Hamdallah remains prime minister and minister of interior. Former PA foreign minister Ziad Abu Amr is deputy prime minister and culture minister.

Muhammad Mustafa is deputy prime minister and national economy minister. Shukri Bishara is minister of finance and planning.

Riyad al-Maliki remains foreign affairs minister. Salim al-Saqqa is justice minister. Adnan al-Husseini is Jerusalem affairs minister.

Rula Maya is tourism and antiquities minister. Jawad Awad remains minister of health.

Khawlah Shakhshir is education and higher education minister. Mufeed al-Hasayna is public works and housing minister.

Allam Mousa is telecommunications and transportation minister. Shawqi al-Ayasa is agriculture and social affairs minister.

Hayfaa al-Agha is minister for women. Mamoun Abu Shahla is labor minister. Nayif Abu Khalaf is local governance minister.

Yousif Ideis is endowment minister. No minister of prisoners' affairs was announced. Abbas wanted the Prisoners Affairs Ministry dismantled.

He wanted it put under PLO administration. Hamas opposed doing so. It remained a major disagreement until last minute resolution.

Earlier, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said unity wouldn't be consummated without a prisoners affairs ministry.

It'll likely be replaced by committee. With no official ministerial role. Temporarily it's part of Prime Minister Al-Hamdallah's portfolio.

On Monday, Reuters said "the dispute between Hamas and Fatah has been resolved." In six months or less, presidential and parliamentary elections will follow.

Qadura Fares heads the Palestinian Prisoners Club. He spoke with senior Hamas representatives. They expressed reservations about dismantling the Prisoners Affairs Ministry. Not the process itself.

According to Fares, the decision was made because of an Israeli anti-ministry incitement campaign.

Unity government officials are technocrats. They're nominally independent. Their new platform is expected to recognize Israel, reject terror, and respect previously signed agreements.

After Monday's swearing in ceremony, Abbas said:

"Today, with the formation of a national consensus government, we announce the end of a Palestinian division that has greatly damaged our national case."

"This black page in the history has been turned forever, and we will not allow it to come back,” he added.

"We won't stand with our hands folded in the face of punitive (Israeli) measures, and we will use every legal and diplomatic tool at our disposal in the international community."

Hamas leader Israel Haniyeh called Palestinian unity "historic."

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri praised "national consensus government, which represents all the Palestinian people."

Netanyahu didn't surprise. His comments turned truth on its head. "Abbas said yes to terror, not peace," he claimed.

"It is the direct continuation of (his) policy to refuse peace, while Israel has made courageous and painful steps for the political process and remains committed to peace."

"Abbas refused to extend the negotiating framework via the US's proposal, continues to incite against Israel, joined international agencies in a set of unilateral moves, and now has formed an alliance with the Hamas terrorist organization - which is responsible for the murder of more than a thousand innocent Israelis, and has fired thousands of rockets at Israeli towns."

"Hamas leaders have reiterated their commitment to terrorism and the destruction of Israel. The agreement with Hamas transfers to Abbas direct responsibility for terrorism from Gaza."

On Sunday, John Kerry spoke to Abbas. According to State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki:

He "expressed concern about Hamas’s role in any such government and the importance that the new government commit to the principles of nonviolence, recognition of the state of Israel and acceptance of previous agreements with it."

He said Washington will "judge any government based on its composition, policies and actions."

"President Abbas assured the secretary that the new government would be committed to these principles."

On May 29, State Department Bureau of Public Affairs spokesman Ian Kelly was asked if Washington would support Palestinian unity governance if Hamas members pledge to accept Quartet principles.

"The United States would expect any Palestinian Government and all of its members to accept and comply with the Quartet principles of non-violence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations entered into by the PLO and the PA," he said.

According to an unnamed US official, Washington told Israel "it will not support the unity government immediately after it is sworn in."

After Monday's ceremony, Israel's security cabinet vowed to hold PA officials responsible for Gazan rocket fire. 

It's virtually never preemptive. It follows Israeli air, ground and/or sea attacks. It's legitimate self-defense. Israel calls it terrorism.

Its security cabinet members won't negotiate with Palestine's new government. Ultranationalist/defrocked/reinstated Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said if Israel wants to retaliate, it should act, not talk.

Netanyahu said Kerry committed not to recognize Palestinian unity governance straightaway. Israeli officials believe most Western countries will do so within hours or days.

"Recognize the new Palestinian government," urged Haaretz editors. Netanyahu vowed no "contact with the new Palestinian Authority except for necessary security coordination," they said.

National reconciliation government followed heavy Arab pressure. Most Palestinians support it.

So do most Western leaders. Israel "invested great effort in foiling diplomatic negotiations," said Haaretz editors.

"(N)ow it's citing Palestinian reconciliation as a decisive reason for freezing (peace) talks."

Its "refusal to recognize this government is liable to portray it once again as the party refusing to give the diplomatic channel a chance."

No nation may dictate the composition of others. Palestine's new government must serve the needs of its people.

It must provide for their health, education and welfare. It must maintain law and order. It must improve economic conditions.

"Israel should welcome the fact that it is not required to operate or fund those services," said Haaretz editors.

"If Israel had recognized the Palestinian government that was elected in 2006, or had cooperated with the Palestinian unity government that was established afterward, we would have been spared numerous casualties on both sides," they added. 

"Israel cannot repeat the same mistake. So long as the new Palestinian government continues to stick to the agreements it signed with Israel and seeks to continue cooperating with Israel, Netanyahu may not cut off ties with it or threaten to boycott it." 

"He would be better off investing his efforts in renewing the diplomatic process with the partner that still exists."

Israel deplores peace and stability. So does Washington. Rogue states operate this way. They risk regional conflicts. Perhaps global war.

Extremist policies head inexorably toward igniting it. Fascist leadership risks what responsible governance wouldn't dare.

Enemies are invented when none exist. Advancing imperial priorities matters most. Doing so involves eliminating all rivals.

War on humanity follows. Doing so risks destroying it altogether. Lunatics infest Washington and Israel. 

They risk the unthinkable. They do it mindlessly. They do it recklessly.

Palestinian unity is a chance for a new direction. Disrupting it risks the worst of all possible outcomes.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour 

Hunger Striking for Liberation and Justice

Hunger Striking for Liberation and Justice

Bt Stephen Lendman

On April 24, 90 Palestinian uncharged administrative detainee political prisoners hunger struck. They did so for long denied justice.

Others joined them. Around 150 overall. On June 1, Maan News reported 1,500. On May 31, Palestine's prisoner affairs minister Issa Qaraqe feared martyrdom for some if strike continues.

On June 2, over 100 refused food for 39 days. Around 70 were hospitalized. According to Qaraqe, they suffer from internal bleeding, memory loss and consciousness. 

Some need surgery. It doesn't matter. They're threatened, beaten, ill-treated and isolated.

They're subjected to "cruel conditions (to) "exhaust them and break their strike," said Qaraqe.

Israeli Prison Service spokeswoman Sivan Weissman confirmed their isolation. No further details were provided.

Qaraqe urged Arab leaders to "urgently intervene and prevent the tragedy that is about to be made by Israel."

Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHR-I) and 16 other NGO's asked EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to do so. They wrote them, saying in part:

"We, the Palestinian Ministry of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs and the undersigned human rights organizations, wish to bring to your attention the on-going mass hunger strike…and request your urgent intervention on their behalf."

"The majority of the hunger strikers are protesting the continued administrative detention, which is detention without trial or charge." 

"Administrative detention orders are issued by the Israeli Military Commander in the West Bank for periods of one to six months and can be renewed indefinitely." 

"Administrative detainees or their lawyers are not informed of the reasons for their detention and are only informed that there is 'secret evidence' against them."

Fact: No evidence whatever exists.

Fact: Israel lies claiming otherwise.

Fact: Detainees committed no crimes.

Fact: They're imprisoned solely for political reasons.

Fact: Police states operate this way.

Fact: America and Israel are by far the world's worst.

"Israel (uses) administrative detention on a systematic basis against tens of thousands of Palestinians and is an ever present threat in the daily lives of all Palestinians."

"We firmly believe that Israel's use of administrative detention should cease immediately."

"Following the launch of the strike the Israeli authorities immediately began taking punitive measures against the hunger strikers." 

"These included the immediate isolation of all hunger strikers away from the rest of the prison population." 

"Many of hunger strikers have also been transferred to different prisons, while the leaders of the hunger strike have also been placed in isolation."

"The Israeli Prison Service (IPS) and Israeli Special Forces have also been conducting violent raids on the prisoner’s cells and intrusive searches the prisoners on a daily basis." 

"In many cases the hunger strikers have been beaten and injured during these raids and were subsequently denied medical treatment."

"As you are aware the mass hunger strike of 2012 ended on 14 May 2012 after an agreement was reached between representatives of the prisoners and the IPS." 

"At this time it was agreed that Israel would limit the use of administrative to only 'exceptional circumstances,' as is required under international law." 

"However, it is quite clear that Israel has reneged on the agreement as it has continued to use administrative detention on a systematic basis which has compelled the prisoners to launch a fresh strike."

'(W)e feel that the prisoners must and can play a central role in bringing about a genuine and lasting peace."

Note: Nine Palestinian Legislative Council members are imprisoned. They committed no crimes. 

They belong to the wrong political parties. Six are hunger striking for justice.

They're lawlessly held uncharged and untried. They're political prisoners. NGO letter signatories include:

Addameer Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association

Aldameer Association for Human Rights

Al-Haq

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights

Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights

Defence for Children International – Palestine Section

Ensan Center for Human Rights and Democracy

Hurryyat –Centre for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights

Jerusalem Center for Legal Aid and Human Rights

Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies

Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling

Palestinian Center for Human Rights

The Public Committee against Torture in Israel

Adalah - The Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel

Physicians for Human Rights - Israel

Arab Association for Human Rights

Palestinian Prisoners Society

Ministry of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs

Hunger striking is open-ended. Palestinian Ministry of Detainees undersecretary Ziad Abu Ein said increasing numbers of detainees are involved.

They're determined to contest horrific prison conditions. They're fighting for fundamental rights.

According to Abu Ein: 

"With their will and determination, the detainees are defeating the occupation, exposing its policies and crimes."

"We need more support (for) the detainees and their cause. We need more international activities." 

"Our people are united. Our international relations are much bigger and wider that Israel's illegitimate occupation. We need to end those crimes."

Palestinian Ministry of Detainees lawyer Ali Sa'ady visited three hunger strikers.

They're in cells "darker and colder than graves," he said. They're not fit for human use. 

They're too small. Prisoners are denied soap, towels, covers and clean clothes.

They're abusively treated. They're repeatedly beaten. They're denied family visits. Lawyer visits are restricted or denied.

Ahmad Rimawi is a student. He's aged 19.  On November 17, 2012, he was arrested. He remains administratively held uncharged.

In May, Israel extended his detention another six month. His father, Ishraq, was imprisoned in June 2001. He committed no crimes.

He's serving a 19-year sentence. Father and son joined in solidarity. At Naqab prison. They're hunger striking for justice.

On April 29, they began. Israel separated them. Ishraq was transferred to Eshel prison.

On May 28, Ahmad was hospitalized. He's suffering from extreme weakness. He repeatedly faints.

Abdul Razeq Yasin Hasan Farraj has been administratively held uncharged for over 92 months.

He was detained five previous times. He's 51 years old. He spent over 14 years of his life imprisoned.

He committed no crimes. He's one of thousands of Israeli political prisoners.

He's accused of being a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) member. 

Israel calls it an illegal organization. It does so without just cause.

Farraj was last arrested on February 25, 2014. On March 3, he appeared before Ofer Military Court.

Military prosecutors accused him of "guiding and directing" PFLP members. 

He's administratively detained unjustly. He's prevented from participating in legal political activities. 

His lawyer is denied specific reasons why. Prosecutors said all details are secret.

Israeli military courts are kangaroo tribunals. Guilt by accusation is official Israeli policy. 

Judge Ron Delomi confirmed Farraj's administrative detention order.

He lied claiming "the materials included in the (secret) file are true and are enough to hold Farraj in administrative detention."

He's "a senior member in the PFLP, and his connections and impact on society indicate that he is dangerous."

He ordered Farraj held administratively uncharged for six months. Through August 24. Interminably if Israel wishes.

For 20 years, military prosecutors failed to charge Farraj. He spent over 14 years imprisoned administratively.

Unjustly. For political reasons. It bears repeating. He committed no crimes. He's a human rights defender. 

Israel violated Fourth Geneva's Article 78. It permits administrative detentions only when clear evidence shows it's necessary for security reasons.

"(I)n accordance with the provisions of the present Convention."

With "the right of appeal…with the least possible delay." With full rights for "protected persons."

Israel systematically spurns virtually all international law provisions. It does what it wants with impunity. 

It remains unaccountable. On April 30, Farraj hunger struck with other Palestinian detainees for justice.

He's imprisoned without just cause. He's a Finance & Administration at Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) director.

UAWC advocates for Palestinian farmer rights. Lawlessly imprisoning Farraj obstructs its work. 

Administratively detaining him and other Palestinians uncharged and untried based on secret evidence withheld from defense counsel violates core international law provisions.

Many administrative detainees languish in Israel's gulag for years. Their fundamental rights are denied. 

They suffer out of sight, mind and public consciousness. World leaders able to help do nothing. Israeli crimes to grave to ignore go unpunished.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour